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B.A. in Scandinavian Area Studies

Students who earn a B.A. in Scandinavian Area Studies develop a new, enhanced understanding of the world through studying the culture, politics, and history of Scandinavia. The program provides diverse options for students to learn, including small, seminar-style classes; interdisciplinary study abroad opportunities; and exceptional programs to connect to Scandinavian and Baltic communities on or near campus. Students develop strong linguistic, research, and communication skills in a welcoming, inclusive academic environment. Prepared with knowledge from world leaders in welfare, business, and gender equity, graduates pursue careers in business and nonprofit work, law, academia, and STEM industries across the globe.

As part of the degree, students gain intermediate linguistic proficiency in a Scandinavian or Baltic language such as Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Estonian, Latvian, or Lithuanian. Because most language 101 courses are available only in the fall, students should sign up for one of these classes as early as possible. If you have previous experience studying one of these languages, schedule a placement test by emailing

Admissions, Advising & Student Resources

Please see our Undergraduate Programs section for information about applying to the program, career paths, scholarships, and other student resources.

Each of our majors has an option to pursue departmental honors. Students who are interested should meet with the undergraduate adviser to learn more about the requirements.

Degree Requirements

65 credits, of which 30 are on the 300 level or above. The 65 credits include 30 credits in the chosen Scandinavian language (usually first and second year), a minimum of one course from each of four Area Studies fields described below (Scandinavian Folklore and Film; Literature; History and Mythology; Society and Politics), and a senior essay.

I. Students shall complete second-year training in the chosen Scandinavian language (Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, or Swedish) or Baltic language (Estonian, Latvian or Lithuanian). Advanced students may take a proficiency exam to meet the requirement.

II. Choose at least one course from each of the following fields:

A. Scandinavian Folklore and Film

    • SCAND 230 Introduction to Folklore Studies (5)
    • SCAND 331 Folk Narrative (5)
    • SCAND 334 Immigrant and Ethnic Folklore (5)
    • SCAND 341 Sami Culture and History (5)
    • SCAND 345 Baltic Cultures (5)
    • SCAND 360 Scandinavian Cinema (5)
    • SCAND 430 Readings in Folklore (5)
    • SCAND 484 Films of Ingmar Bergman (5)

B. Scandinavian Literature

    • SCAND 232 Hans Christian Andersen and the Fairy Tale Tradition (5)
    • SCAND 270 Sagas of the Vikings (5)
    • SCAND 280 Ibsen & His Major Plays in English (5)
    • SCAND 312 Masterpieces of Scandinavian Literature (5)
    • SCAND 335 Scandinavian Children's Literature (5)
    • SCAND 340 Kalevala and the Epic Tradition (5)
    • SCAND 367 Sexuality in Scandinavia: Myth and Reality (5)
    • SCAND 427 Scandinavian Women Writers in English Translation (5)
    • SCAND 431 The Northern European Ballad (5)
    • SCAND 445 The Nordic-Baltic Region and the War: Literary Representations (5)
    • SCAND 462 Isak Dinesen and Karen Blixen (5)
    • SCAND 480 Kierkegaard and Decadence in European Literature (5)
    • SCAND 481 August Strindberg and European Cultural History (5)
    • SCAND 482 Knut Hamsum and Early European Modernism (5)

C. Scandinavian History and Mythology

    • SCAND 330 Scandinavian Mythology (5)
    • SCAND 344 The Baltic States and Scandinavia (5)
    • SCAND 370 The Vikings (5)
    • SCAND 380 Scandinavian History to 1720 (5)
    • SCAND 381 Scandinavian History Since 1720 (5)
    • SCAND 403 Scandinavian Immigration in History and Literature (5)
    • SCAND 454 Baltic History (5)
    • SCAND 455 Baltic States Since 1991 (5)
    • SCAND 460 History of Scandinavian Languages (5)

D. Scandinavian Society and Politics

    • SCAND 325 Scandinavian Public Policy (5)
    • SCAND 326 Scandinavia in World Affairs (5)
    • SCAND 350 Environmental Norms in International Politics (5)
    • SCAND 351 Scandinavia, the EU & Global Climate Changes (5)
    • SCAND 367 Sexuality in Scandinavia: Myth and Reality (5)
    • SCAND 402 International Political Economy in Scandinavia (5)
    • SCAND 437 Politics in Scandinavia (5)

III. Senior Essay (SCAND 498, 5 credits) during senior year on a topic in Scandinavian Area Studies under supervision of appropriate faculty. The senior essay may be taken as a 10-credit sequence: 5 credits of faculty-advised independent research SCAND 499, to be followed by a quarter of SCAND 498, during which time the student writes the senior essay. The faculty adviser for 499 and 498 should be chosen on the basis of the topic of the planned thesis.  

Credits earned during studies in Scandinavia can be transferred in consultation with the Foreign Study Office and the Scandinavian Department.

Other courses may be substituted per discussion with the Undergraduate Adviser.